July 5, 2022

Mastering Mobile Measurement Part I

Focusing on Metrics that Matter

Mobile app measurement is a key element of driving app growth. And you’re probably already covering the well-known basics: Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC); Monthly Active Users (MAUs); and Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRRs). It’s like an alphabet soup of useful data that you should definitely be monitoring. 

But although they’re important, those metrics only give a broad, generic overview of your app’s performance. At Loyal, we believe that layering on additional measurements unique to your app can give you a deeper insight into your app’s overall health and growth potential. 

Not sure which metrics you should start exploring? No problemwe’ll break it down for you. Here’s the approach we follow when measuring mobile app performance:

  1. Get specific.

To get the most out of your mobile app measurements, think specifically about your app’s unique user experience and what you want to achieve.

Need an example? Look at Spotify: Its developers mastered the customized user experience because they look closely at the metrics that matter most for engagement, like Time Spent Listening to Music. They also use machine learning to track if a listener skipped a song in less than 30 seconds, which influences future playlist suggestionsso you automatically hear more of what you want to and less of what you don’t (which means people will use their app longer and more often). 

Bottom line: It’s the little details that can make a big difference in measuring how your app performs (and how you can keep improving and growing). 

  1. Study the market. (But beware of benchmarks.)

This may sound contradictory, but bear with us: Yes, you should research industry benchmarks when developing your metrics. No, you should not rely solely on benchmarks for your mobile app measurements. Here’s why:

  • Context, context, context: The data reported by industry organizations and competitors is good to know, but not necessarily relevant to your app’s metric needs. Usually, their reports lack the context and strategy behind the numbers, so you’re not getting the full picturejust more of a rough sketch. Still helpful - certainly directional - but not enough to accurately interpret the data or apply the insight against your app’s potential.

  • The definitions are not well defined: The lack of conformity when it comes to defining metrics can make figuring out what’s actually being measured a little tricky. One company’s CAC may include fully loaded sales and marketing expenses, the other’s may only focus on paid media costs. As an outsider to the company, will you be privy to those details? Probably not. Which means more guesswork (and less accuracy) for you.

So our advice? Don’t sweat the benchmarks. They’re a good indicator of what the market is doing in general terms, but not necessarily how your app is performing. 

  1. Think long-term. 

Here’s a common mistake: A developer offers a free trial for their app in hopes of converting those users to paid subscribers. Then, they only look at the number of conversions from the free trial they offered to measure their app performance. The numbers of conversions are high, which is awesome! But, there’s still more to learn.

Measuring conversions from a free trial promotion is a great strategy, but it shouldn’t be your only strategy. It’s equally important to see how your users are doing after they sign up as paid subscribers. How are they engaging with your app? How long are they engaging? How frequently? These are important things to look at three, six, twelve, or even eighteen months after they convert because it gives you a clearer view of what’s actually working and what could be improved. 

So, when measuring your mobile app performance, be sure to look beyond a one-time or short-term effort to acquire or engage users. And remember to keep capturing and evaluating data for all phases of the user journey: New Users, Retained Users, Resurrected Users, and Churned Users.

Think of it as the ABCDs: Always Be Capturing Data. Another acronym, sure thing! It’ll pay off in the long run. 

That’s just the beginning of our approach to measuring mobile app performance. And trust us, there’s a lot more to explore. So much so that we created an entire part two (and three!) for our Mastering Mobile Measurement series. Stay tuned for Part Two, where we break down the most effective tactics for measuring mobile apps!